Undercuffler Emerging as a Big-Time Threat at Quarterback
University at Albany’s star quarterback, Jeff Undercuffler, has been on fire through the Great Danes’ first four games. In his redshirt freshman season, he has thrown for 903 yards and 12 touchdowns.
However, Undercuffler’s college football career was never a certainty.
A talented three-sport athlete in high school, he chose to focus most of his attention on baseball.
“My whole life, I was a pitcher,” Undercuffler said. “I was always signed up for summer league baseball and traveling to tournaments in Florida and Georgia to get some exposure.”
Undercuffler first played organized football as a freshman in high school and his talent was immediately noticed. He became the starting quarterback for his varsity team in just his second year of playing.
Even with his newly-discovered talen, he never thought playing college football was part of his future.
No teams offered Undercuffler a chance to play baseball, but UAlbany’s associate head coach Keith Dudzinski called and offered him a scholarship to play football.
“I had a couple smaller power-five schools look at me. They made no offers and showed no interest [in me],” Undercuffler said when asked why he chose UAlbany. “Coach [Dudzinski] called me and asked me if I wanted to accept a full scholarship. I honestly teared up; I was so humbled.”
As a true freshman, he was forced to sit behind transfer journeyman Vincent Testaverde, who was invited to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp after graduating.
A season that featured no wins and shaky quarterback play from Testaverde would see Undercuffler get his chance to play in the eighth game of the season. The following game, he would make his first start against the University of Delaware.
In his four 2018 appearances, Undercuffler threw for 526 yards and four touchdowns. He also led the Danes to a victory against No. 10 ranked Stony Brook, their only win of the season.
Despite his stellar start to the 2019 season, Undercuffler still has flaws to work on. The biggest and most apparent is the number of turnovers he has committed. In the Danes’ 38-35 loss to Monmouth, Undercuffler turned the ball over four times.
“I can see the growth coming, he still has some things to learn,” said head coach Greg Gattuso. “Protecting the ball, I think was a big lesson for him [against Monmouth]. He still made some great throws and I can see real improvement.”
When asked about the future of his young career, Undercuffler was not shy about his long-term goal.
“I wouldn’t say it’s too early to think about certainly the NFL is my goal,” said Undercuffler. “I’m still a redshirt freshman, I have some room to grow, and I still have to get better.”
While the NFL is still many steps of improvement away, Undercuffler has beaten the odds before and is confident he will beat them again. The Danes look to carry their momentum into conference play on Saturday Sept 28 at home against William and Mary.